Over the first half of the 2018-19 season, there were not many players at Juventus who were performing better than Joao Cancelo. He was looking about as good as any Juve right back had looked since the good old days of Stephan Lichtsteiner terrorizing many an opposition after he signed from Lazio, with Cancelo adding the element of being one hell of a contributor to an attack that had plenty of firepower and aerial threat to it.
For all we know, that might be the only season Cancelo spends in Turin.
According to Goal and Sport Mediaset, Juventus are in talks with Premier League champions Manchester City over a potential €50 move for the 25-year-old Cancelo. The two outlets report that the talks are currently ongoing, but the framework for another big-money move involving Cancelo is being put in place — so much so that City are rather confident that a deal will be completed regardless of Fabio Paratici still asking upward of €60 million for the Portuguese right back.
Cancelo, who arrived from Valencia last summer for €40 million after a mixed batch of performances for Inter in the 2017-18 season, was Max Allegri’s No. 1 choice on the right side of Juve’s defense from virtually the first week of the year onward.
But after his red-hot start to the season where he was proving to be worthy of the €40 million fee and easily one of Serie A’s best signings, both the form cooled off, injuries flared up, Allegri didn’t start him as regularly as he did in the first half of the season and, most of all, the defensive issues he had were more of an issue as offensive contributions became less and less of a constant.
The thing is, though, do you think Cancelo is more of the player from the first half of the season or the one from the final four or five months that struggled to replicate his early-season form?
For potentially €50 million or more, it’s a tough decision to make.
Even if Paratici is demanding upward of €60 million for Cancelo, there is a major decision to make regardless of it being a profit off last summer’s transfer fee. The potential is there for Cancelo to be very, very good — and that’s something he showed when he was first a Juventus player. But an offer like this might be too good for Paratici to pass up, as well as one that could help give Juve some freedom to do other kids of business on the transfer market on top of fidning a new starting right back this month or next.
Or, for all we know, it could just be a down payment for Pep Guardiola.
(Oh, did I go there? I think I just went there.)